B.G. Micro Vocal Synthesizer Card

Our PC’s Limited (Dell) 286 computer came with a B.G. Micro vocal synthesizer card, which lets the computer “talk” in 1980s robot style. Two tantalum capacitors had failed on the board, so all were replaced.



Resources we found related to this card components

How it Works

Here’s a very rough overview of how it works. The board uses two chips:
SPO256-AL2 is the speech processor
CTS256A-AL2 text to speech controller chip
The SPO256-AL2 processor creates speech sounds from basic sound units (known as phonemes) based on input commands, while the CTS256A-AL2 controller written English into those basic sound units, together making it possible to turn written text into spoken words.

The ISA interface on the card is solely to provide power. The ISA bus is not utilized for any data transfer. Instead, the card uses the DB-25 RS232 serial interface for text input.

The Votrax SC-01 was another synthesizer from this time period, but is a different chip as explained by Dr. Scott M Baker. He has a ton of great info on these synthesizers as well as a video creating a new board from these components.

How To Use

The DIP switches determine the serial port settings. . .

When power is applied, the CTS2564-AL2 chip outputs speech audio of “O.K.”

TODO: further instructions coming!

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